Velvet Merlin - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

592 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 592
Hads: 2,630
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 9.3%
Wants: 211
Gots: 438 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Oatmeal Stout |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: largadeer on 11-13-2008

A decadent oatmeal stout. Velvet Merlin offers robust cocoa and espresso aromas with subtle American hop nuances. Rich dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavor with a creamy mouth feel and wonderfully dry finish create the perfect balance in this full-bodied stout. Ideal for sipping in the winter months or at the end of a meal.

Original name was "Velvet Merkin", but name was changed when it began to be bottled in 2010.

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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 592 | Hads: 2,630
Photo of KornWallace
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Date: 11/8/14
Location: The Beer Necessities
Draught/Bottle: Bottle
Glassware: Snifter

Appearance: Black to Dark Brown with a pronounced lightening of the colors around the edges which become light brown to clear. Slight light brown carbonation which doesn't remain for very long.
Aroma: Smells of milk lactose and oats start us off as a very smooth oatmeal stout. Moving to the dark side we find smells of ground roasted coffee, sweet dark malts, charcoal. A slight souring to finish.
Flavor: The dark side is the clear winner of the flavoring. While the lactose and oats give the beer that sweetness it's those malts and coffee flavors that really linger on the tongue. The malts are more earthy now moving to chocolates and earth/dirt. The roast if the coffee really comes through in the flavor.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, medium to high carbonation. Oily from the oats along with the higher then expected carbonation helps move the flavors around the tongue.

Notes: Bottled 1/9/14 7:55 (995 characters)

Photo of RyanK252
4.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at BC's Pizza and Beer

A: Pours dark brown with a slight ruby hue and mocha head that fades.

S: Dark roasted malt, a bit earthy, with light coffee.

T: Lots of dark roasted malt, some sweet cocoa, light coffee, a touch of vanilla, some earthy hop notes and a mild bitterness on the finish.

M: Medium body with moderate carbonation, velvety smooth.

O: Flavorful brew that really hits the spot on a cold night. (422 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Bottle from Bert's
Solid dark brown black color with a decent sized tan head that shows moderate retention. Aromas of creamed coffee and chocolate dominate. Light earthy hop, cereal grain, and a faint pitted fruit round out the aroma nicely. The flavor is rich mocha with just a touch of vanilla. Light earth and fruit for posterity. Medium body with a creamy silky mouthfeel and a light level of carbonation. I could drink the hell out of these given half a chance. (466 characters)

Photo of dasenebler
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.1.14
Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin
12oz, bottled 9.18.14

Dark garnet with a one-finger tan head. Lacing/retention average. (3.5)

Aroma has a lot of toasted malt with a hint of earthy hop. Some roast. Clean. (3.5)

Flavor is complex and smooth. Molasses, coffee, date, dark fruit and other crystal malt flavors. Roast is restrained. Herbal hop is subtle. Finish is pretty dry for style, but mouthfeel is huge and, well, velvety. Oats playing a big role here. Carbonation is medium-low. (4.5, 4.5)

A very nice stout. Soft, smooth and balanced. Not a bitter roast bomb at all. Highly drinkable and satisfying. Merlin strikes again! (4.5) (641 characters)

Photo of Flounder57
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a nonic glass.

Appearance: A one finger mocha head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pitch black color with no vision of anything.

Smell: Sweet and bready oats, vanilla, milk chocolate, roasted coffee, char, smoke, and earthy aromas.

Taste: Same as above. Nice sweetness and bready oats. Very tasty oatmeal stout.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, some silky and creamy notes, light bodied, and a little chewy.

Overall: Pretty nice oatmeal stout. I wouldn't mind trying out the big daddy version. I am content with this one for the time being. (590 characters)

Photo of beergoot
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle data: 09/18/14 09:33

Dark, garnet red and brown body with a thick, off-white head that dwindles to a persistent, foam-clinging, thin layer. Charred, roasted grain aroma; a twinge of bitter chocolate. Roasted grain slightly astringent dark grain character with the flavor; baker's chocolate; decent bitterness. Medium body, leaning towards thick; dry character yet somewhat smooth and chewy.

A very solid, well-balanced and smooth stout. Excellent dark and roasted grain flavor with a noticeable and pleasing smoothness courtesy of the oats. Exceeds the summary of its parts overall... (593 characters)

Photo of part-time-alcoholic
1.1/5  rDev -72.4%

After coming here for a few years I made an account specifically to comment on this brew. I hate to trash a beer from a brewery I love but wow this is bad. Watery mouth-feel, caustic scent, absolutely bitter taste with zero other qualities. I don;t think I've ever seen a BA Score (90, currently) I disagree with more. Maybe I just got a bad batch? (348 characters)

Photo of brewskifan55
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Bottled 1/29/14. Thanks, Darren.

A: Cola brown with a tan half finger head that dissipates fast. Curtain-y lacing.

S: Dark Chocolate, coffee, molasses. Burnt sugar.

T: Follows nose, oh, so nicely! Robust, full-bodied, smokey, toasty, sweet. A terrific concoction of chocolate, coffee and molasses. Smooth and decadent.

M: Medium with medium carbonation. Thick and chewy.

O: I wasn't sure if this one would hold up 9 months after being bottled. But it was killer. A magical brew that must be sought out like the Holy Grail. (567 characters)

Photo of FFreak
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Bottle dated about 9 months back. Poured into glasses and shared.

Almost black, slight brown at edges. Thin quickly-dissipating tan head with minimal lacing

Aroma is of caramel and roast, with some molasses and chocolate. Pretty nice.

Taste was slightly bready and roasty, with caramel and oatmeal. A simple, but tasty stout.

Mouthfeel is full bodied with low carbonation and no bitterness or astringency. Not as smooth as expected for an Oatmeal stout.

Overall, I liked it but expected better. I will try again but I would like to try it fresher. I don't think the age helped it. (593 characters)

Photo of BoldRulerVT
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%

Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a willi becher glass.
Pours jet black with minimal caramel head.
Smells nice and roasty, touch of molasses.
Tastes soft and roasty. Not an overly complex beer though. Very light mouthfeel, very drinkable.
Overall a good beer, but I was expecting bigger and more complex flavors. (314 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%

12 oz bottle consumed in Redwoods Park.

Opaque black-brown; good tan head that leaves layered lacing.

Aroma: dark bread with hints of molasses and dark fruits

Flavor: Follows the promise of the aroma. Moderate level of dark roasted malts flavor. Faint coffee in the aftertaste.

Feel: soft medium carbonation. Medium-light body.

O: good for style. (361 characters)

Photo of slusk
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a very dark red, almost opaque with a short lived tan head.

S: Roasted coffee, chocolate and dark fruit is the main course. Some raisin notes and a wee bit of smoky aroma.

T: Dark fruits hit the palate first, some raisin and plum. Quickly followed by a roasted coffee. Some burnt toffee is in the background. Dark bread in a sweet beer. It does fiish dryer than I expected.

M: Full bodied and chewy with low carbonation.

O: A very nice stout. It's sweet but not cloying. Bright roasted coffee notes jump out among the dark fruits. Nice complex beer. (565 characters)

Photo of seedyone
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

02/27/14 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Very smooth as all oatmeal stouts seem to be.

Very little edge or bite in any area. Great texture and at only 5.5%, a very friendly brew. Too bad it's not more readily available here on the East Coast.

Firestone Walker never fails to impress. (284 characters)

Photo of Brackh
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a bottle from February while in Portland. Really excited to try anything from Firestone Walker. Good Stout. Pretty malty brew. Catch a hint of coffee. Pours super dark and thick with a good head. Could drink this on a regular basis.

Wife's Review: "Yum! I like it a lot. Great with chocolate." (304 characters)

Photo of TotallyGomer
4.79/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

S: bottle to Pilsner glass

A: Beautiful, simply beautiful. A near perfect example of a stout. Nearly pitch black with a finger or so of tan head that stays throughout. Very light lacing is the only area that seems to lack.

S: Rich roasted malts, dark chocolate, light grains, light hops.

T: Similar to the nose. Rich flavors of espresso, dark chocolate, breads, very light bitter late bite. Chocolate cake in a glass. More than enjoyable.

M: Creamy, rich, light carbonation. In short, the way I expect a stout to feel.

O: I love it. I'm partial to stouts, especially oatmeal stouts, so the numbers may be slightly skewed, but if it weren't a good stout I would rate it low, so take it at as it is. Because of the coffee/espresso notes, I would consider this a great dessert beer. Who am kidding, this would be great for breakfast or anytime. (846 characters)

Photo of Richardbeerlover
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark brown with a short head that quickly dissipates. Smells nice like oatmeal and very fresh. Taste is suprisingly clean and fresh without any heaviness. Nice and crisp and clean for such a dark beer. Nice carbonation and not syrupy like other darker beers. I really enjoyed this one. (298 characters)

Photo of reebtaerG
4.31/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured bottle dated 2/7/14 into New Belgium globe

A-Pours a beautiful black with a one finger tan head that dissipates to a ring. Decent lacing.

S-Aromas of milk chocolate, roast, espresso.

T-Great flavor of chocolatey malt sweetness initially, roasty malt bitterness, hops seem less prevalent.

M-Mouthfeel gives a medium bodied, mild carbonation and a hint of bitterness.

O-Overall another great brew from FW will buy some more. (436 characters)

Photo of Tele
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: 4.5 Looks nice. Pours almost black with a two-inch tan head that dissipates quickly.

S: 4.25 Roasted malt up front giving off coffee and bittersweet chocolate aromas. Faint hops.

T: 3.75 Similar to the nose, just a bit more toned down. Nice overall, bit it almost seems a little watery. Not bitter at all, actually a bit tart on the finish.

M: 3.5 Fairly thin for an oatmeal stout. Not a big beer, so I don’t think the mouth feel is too bad but could be a bit more rich.

O: 3.75 A nice drinking stout with good flavors, but there are better examples of the style out there. I’ll probably stick with my one six-pack per season. (639 characters)

Photo of larryi86
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle dated 2/17/2014 poured into a snifter

A- Black with a small two finger light tan head.

S- Dark chocolate, espresso/roasted coffee, very rich.

T- Lighter than the nose, some dark chocolate, roasted coffee, hints of piney hops, nice balance.

M- Smooth, light to medium body, creamy.

O- A very nice and enjoyable stout that is easy to drink. (356 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by RussianDragon. Thanks Dave!

The beer is near black with a half inch of beige head. Scents of bread, roast, chocolate. Smooth on the palate. Flavors include char, roast, chocolate, and a hint of coffee beans. Easy drinking and overall, a solid example of the style. (282 characters)

Photo of HattedClassic
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an extremely light head that dissipates very quickly. Some head is still left and the color is a creamy brown color. The beer itself is an opaque dark brown that is a little bit black and dark. The beer smell has strong oatmeal notes and dark chocolate notes. Some roasted malt smell comes out but not much. The oatmeal smell is pretty nice and ... oatmealy. The beer flavor is very similar to the smell with strong creamy oatmeal notes with a side of sweet dark chocolate. The taste also has an interesting slightly metallic water taste that adds to the eflavor and provides a nice balance. The mouthfeel is heavy bodied with biting carbonation. The beer feels fairly smooth and goes down smooth as well. Overall, a very good oatmeal stout and one worth getting again. (784 characters)

Photo of minterro
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Bought at Little's Wine and Liquor, poured into a snifter.

A&S: Light black colored beer. Head is light tan and doesn't hang around too long, no real lacing. Aroma consists of dark chocolate and coffee components.

T&M: Similar to the aroma. Not really all that powerful, but that not uncommon for oatmeal stouts. Toward the finish the beer gets pretty smokey. Not as sweet as most oatmeal which is nice. Nice bitterness towards for finish. Body and carbonation are pretty low especially for the style. The mouthfeel is almost sharp.

Overall: I liked the beer, but when I think of oatmeal stout I always think about smoothness and creamy texture, this beer really didn't have a great mouthfeel and brought down the overall score more than mouthfeel normally does. I really don't think this is firestone walker's best brews. (826 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a almost black body with khaki head that left some pace patches. Smell is of roasted and sweet malts, akin to some coffee and chocolate with possible nuts (hazel) or toffee, maybe caramel. The oatmeal is noticeable as it smoothes down a light bodied beer (light for a stout) and helps balance a light coffee/roasted malt edge with some minor chocolate and toffee like sweetness. Little bit of woodiness on this beer as well and at times there seems to be a boozy, dry finish. (482 characters)

Photo of gillagorilla
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Duvel tulip (02/17/14, not sure if that is best by or bottled on, best by makes sense since this is a fall beer)

A: Pitch black and pours a finger thick head that goes away quickly enough. Leaving just a slightly mocha island of bubbles.

S: I get a lot of coffee and chocolate, with that oatmeal background that smooths them all out and binds them together.

T: Very smooth from the oatmeal. Tastes like rye oat water. I was super excited for this, but maybe it would have been better had we gotten it in the fall. Nice bit of stout in there, but comes across as more of a porter.

M: Smooth, with just a bit of abrasiveness to it.

O: Not what I was expecting, but I was wanting more flavor. I guess I am spoiled by GD's Oatmeal Yeti.

p.s. Turns out this is a late spring/early summer release (at least here in MD). Still looking for some Easy Jack and Opal. (891 characters)

Photo of JayQue
3.62/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A brew from Firestone Walker with an Outstanding BA rating made me think I was in for something special. This is a good beer but nothing exceptional. Pours a dense dark brown with just a little light coming through the bottom of the glass. Good size light tan/yellowish head with better than average retention.

Aroma is mild, mostly roasted malt. Taste is similar with perhaps a bit of chocolate coming in too. Mostly bready and slightly sweet malts.

Mouthfeel is very good. Most Oatmeal stouts are creamy and smooth. This is no exception. Nice and crisp as well with no alcohol presence.

A fairly good but not exceptional brew. For an Oatmeal Stout, I would rather have a Samuel Smiths. (690 characters)

Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 592 ratings.